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Video: Maina Kiai UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly 
and of association interviewed by Teesta Setalvad

5 October 2014

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Maina Kiai UN Special Rapporteur with Teesta Setalvad
A true democracy is not about holding elections but how the right to peaceful assembly, protest and association is encouraged, what happens between elections
5.10.2014
United Nations Special Rapporteur, Maina Kiai
Catch UN SR on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in an interview with Teesta Setalvad.Communalism Combat’s Third Interview, only on HILLELE TV and www.sabrang.com
In a brief and candid interview the UN SR, Maina Kiai, explains this relatively new and recent mandate, established by the United Nations in 2010 created in recognition of the need to assert the basic democratic rights to peaceful assembly, protest and association, that were being curtailed by states across the world, north and south, democracies and dictatorships.
He accepted that the United Nations label and mandate, with its historical background and some imbalances –even today the United Nations spends just 6 per cent of its budget on the promotion and protection of human rights – is a ‘work in progress’. However, it remains the one and only international body that is consistently evolving a framework to be able to speak to and with states on the evolution of standards for the protection of human rights in general and the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, protest and association in particular. The reports and commentaries by the Special Rapporteurs are thoroughly researched and credible and if and when questions are put to states, this is a movement towards general accountability.
In this interview with Teesta Setalvad of Communalism Combat, taken after an Asia-wide interaction and consultation with activists and organisations, Maina Kiai spoke also of the further impact of this curtailing of this right to peaceful assembly and association across the world by the 10-15 year old phenomenon of ‘the dumbing down of the mainstream media”. This dumbing down has meant that the media was now more concerned with the glamorous and celebrity stories than any with deeper content. The media in a sense was betraying itself through this process, he opined, instead of keeping true and consistent with the basic ideals of democratic functioning, which is ‘Informing, Educating and Empowering.’ It is because of this abdication of the mainstream Media’s role worldwide that the fair amplification of human rights protests has been hampered.